Archive for greatest danger

The Most Dangerous Epidemic Of All

Posted in activism, alternative, analysis, consciousness, corporate fascism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Just over 100 deaths in the US from the coronavirus, and what is the government response? Fascist lockdown. The pattern is the same across the Western world, mirroring the police state which is China. Fascist lockdown. People are hysterical over a virus that kills fewer than bathtub drownings, motor vehicle accidents, air pollution, or MacDonalds – or the common flu. But they’re utterly complacent and obliging when their rights are stripped away, people are placed under mass house arrests, travel restrictions are invoked, and with restrictions on freedom of assembly, divide and conquer is the clear modus operandi, with the urgings to “social distancing”, while entire cities and nations are sealed off, closed down, and “quarantined”.

And no one is worried about the clear moves towards fascism – which, for anyone who has been paying attention, has been the undeniable trend since 9/11, 2001, when the “war on terrorism”, which everywhere has been a war on democracy, was officially launched, and the Western police state construction began.

Erich Fromm (echoing Aldous Huxley and others) was also right: people will take flight from reality if their reality becomes too unpleasant to them, or too painful – due for example to harsh economic conditions – among other, deeper reasons – and they will seek to escape, not only from reality, but also from freedom. Fascism is the result. (See Fromm’s classic of social psychology, Escape From Freedom, published in 1941, in the midst of WWII and the fight to defeat the Nazis and the first wave of fascism.)

Robert Bly was right. By the late 20th century, people in the modern Western world had not only been “dumbed down” by the mass media, advertising, the corporatization of the culture and society, paternalistic and increasingly authoritarian governments, entertainment addiction, mass distraction, materialism and consumerism, and the harmful effects of these on people’s psyches and intellects; but further, the majority had regressed to the state of adult children. And this is clearly, and sadly, the case.

Bly became wildly popular overnight with his book, Iron John. But when his later book, The Sibling Society, portrayed our society as a society of adolescents, suddenly he was dropped from all discourse, and disappeared, almost instantly, from popular culture, and from memory and mind.

People – a lot of people at least – don’t like the truth. The truth is often uncomfortable. Being comfortable is preferable.

Escapism, fantasy and denial are preferable to the truth. Comforting illusions are preferable to the truth. Almost anything is preferable to having to face the truth of our present reality. Apparently even fascism is preferable to having to face the truth, and having to deal with reality.

*

25 years ago I was at an international development conference in Holland. The topic for discussion at the conference was encapsulated in the conference title, which had a catchy, thought-provoking word-play in Dutch (which I am probably misspelling, going solely from memory, and my few words of Dutch): Minder Mensen Of Minder Wensen? Which translates as, fewer people, or fewer wants?

(See Views From the South, for an excellent overview of the central issues.)

The central question of the conference was and is the central question of international development issues, and global issues generally. It asks the question raised by Malthus, and reasserted by the Neo-Malthusians (such as Bill Gates and the Rockefellers, along with other powerful elites, and the Western elite in general). The question is this: Is the central problem in the world over-population, or over-consumption?

The international development community, with people and organizations from around the world, with quite literally hundreds if not thousands of years of combined experience and research behind them collectively, concluded in general agreement and consensus, that the answer was unquestionably the latter: over-consumption is the primary problem, as the figures show perfectly well, and conclusively, beyond all doubt.

By that time already, roughly 20% of the world’s population (mainly, but not exclusively, in North America, Europe and Japan) – the affluent 20% – had come to consume 80% of the world’s resources, and produce 60% of its pollution and waste. The over-consumption of the affluent, and the inequality and disparity of wealth globally, have only grown exponentially since then.

Over-consumption is the overwhelmingly central cause of our problems on Earth, with fossil fuel dependency and war coming a close second and third. Over-population will become a problem soon if left unchecked, but we will discuss the clear, and humane, answers to that, below. But in any case, we cannot be distracted from the conclusions which the facts demand: the richest few are consuming the planet. Period.

The findings of decades of efforts at international development and poverty relief have certain conclusive results. Among them, are this key finding, which everyone in the international development community knows to be a proven fact: Population growth quickly stops, and even reverses, when two criteria are met: a) poverty is eliminated; and b) women are educated and empowered. In the southern India state of Kerala, the twin objectives were met with decisive efforts, and population growth was halted in just a few years.

We now know without doubt, and have known for some decades now, that population growth can be stopped, and stopped quickly, and without harsh, inhuman, or draconian methods. The problem is, it requires a systems change: a sharing of wealth and power – and the elite do not want that.

So yes, population growth, if left unchecked, would certainly become a crippling global ecological problem. However, population growth can be halted very quickly, and reversed, by eliminating poverty and empowering women. The Western elite know these facts as well as the international development community. They simply don’t want to take this course of action.

That would mean sharing the wealth, and worse, the power. They don’t want that. They seem intent on fulfilling what Adam Smith called, “The vile maxim of the masters”, which, as he said, is, “All for us, none for anybody else.”

*

The elite want it all. They are not content to be rich and powerful. There seems to be no end to their greed. The richest three individuals in the US – Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates – now have more wealth than the poorest half of Americans. And they want more.

The richest eight people in the world now have more wealth than the poorest half of humanity. And the trend is accelerating, as inequality continues to soar. As the Canadian philosopher, John McMurtry has said, the super-rich are devouring the middle class, the poor, and the Earth.

We are being eaten alive. And yet, the elite still pose as our saviours, our only hope. Don’t believe the lie. The illusion must be wearing pretty thin by now.

So, sharing wealth and power is out of the question – depopulation is on the table, however, in the eyes of the elite.

And what is furthermore unquestionably on the table, and in play, is fascist lockdown.

As of early 2001, when the global poll of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, came back, the ruling plutocrats, the billionaire club at Davos, knew that they faced a global crisis of legitimacy which was deep, and growing, and would sweep them from power, just as a crisis of legitimacy dissolved and collapsed the Soviet Union like a house of cards – unless they took immediate decisive action.

That was early 2001. Nearly 20 years later, we now have a global surveillance and police state, while freedom and democracy are under full scale attack.

*

Facing the present deep and growing crisis of legitimacy, world “leaders” – or more neutrally put, elites – have three choices:

1. Respond to the people’s wishes, and compromise; and not be quite so greedy for privilege, wealth and power. This is the path of equity, compromise, and democracy. (A deeply unpopular choice among ruling elites, both historically and today.)

2. Get ready to abandon power, and to lose all power. (Elites seldom wish to lose power. Today’s global corporate empire is no different.)

3. Respond with intensified propaganda – and with a resort to force: prepare for lockdown, repression, and fascism.

The Western elite have made a clear choice. It has been made perfectly clear since 2001. And it becomes ever more stark with time – particularly now, in March of 2020, when the test run for full-fledged global corporate fascism is floated, or the final fascist lockdown has begun (at this point, it is uncertain as to which it is, but it is unquestionably one of the two).

The elite certainly do not want to lose power, or be swept from power by the global awakening of humanity that is occurring, along side the growing crisis of legitimacy for the ruling elite. They are in no mood to compromise, and they have repeatedly shown their contempt for democracy and freedom, and their preference for fascism and dictatorship, as US foreign policy spanning more than 100 years, for example, has shown. (See Chomsky and William Blum on the history of US and Western elites’ very strong, clear preference for fascism and dictators since WWII.)

Yielding power is out. Compromise is out. That means democracy is out.

What it means is, the elite are saying to the people, “Let them eat cake.”

Since losing power is out, and sharing power – which means equity, compromise and democracy – is out, that leaves only one choice: the choice of the elite has been made clear: it is fascism, and lockdown.

That is the context to what is happening now – but not even the “alternative media” seem to recognize it, and the people are asleep.

“What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real?

Meak and obedient you follow the leaders

Down well-trodden corridors

Into the valley of steel

What a surprise!

A look of terminal shock in your eyes!

Now things are really what they seem –

No, this is no bad dream”

– Pink Floyd, Sheep

*

Late 20th century and early 21st century modern society has become a society of mass addiction, as well as mass distraction, mass propaganda, mass illusion, and mass escape from reality, above all.

The opioid crisis is just the most obvious tip of the iceberg. When you look at the gamut of addictions, it becomes quite startling: drugs, alcohol, smoking, shopping, consumerism, materialism, status seeking, power addiction, video games, pornography, workaholism, social media addiction, internet addiction, entertainment addiction, media and infotainment addiction (“news” junkies – very similar to people who like to watch car accidents and train wrecks), sex addiction, compulsive eating, pharmacuetical addiction (sometimes necessary, or at least helpful, but often of dubious value)…the list goes on and on.

What drives this mass addiction is a mass, pandemic impulse to escape from reality. (It’s worst in the most “advanced” and “leading” industrial nations of North America and Europe, but it is spreading fast.) And the impulse to chronically and systematically escape from reality is an extremely dangerous impulse, if left unchecked – because reality always wins in the end: whether we face it, or not. We either deal with reality, or reality will deal with us.

Materialism has created a society that is filled with stress and hurry, worry and anxiety, alienation, loneliness, insecurity, inequality, tyranny and toil, meaninglessness, inner poverty, escapist addictions, numbness, and quiet despair. The response of the majority has been to increase ever further the fixation on material consumption, entertainment, distraction, and things. It is a viscous cycle, and there is no bottom to it. It leads to hollow minds, hollow hearts, hollow souls, social decay, decline, and collapse – but not before fascism and a new dark age takes hold, if we are foolish enough to allow this course to continue.

Ann Wilson Schaff remarked, in her book, When Society Becomes An Addict that the root of addiction is the will to escape from life, in order to escape life’s pain. It never works. The attempt to escape life, in order to escape life’s pain, results in an escape from love, intimacy, connectedness, aliveness, wholeness, integration, inner peace, joy, personal freedom and empowerment, meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment, as well as responsibility, adulthood, and reality. It results in alienation, loneliness, boredom, inner poverty, and a restless insatiable hunger for that mysterious something which is always missing. It results in perpetual distraction, self-delusion and escape from reality being the core compulsion. And that is a psychological, sociological, political, economic, and ecological disaster.

And the stakes keep getting higher, with every year of avoidance of reality. Hard core drinkers, drug addicts, gamblers and other users and addicts, come to know the pattern, and its costs. Its costs, sooner or later, become total self-degradation, self-emiseration, deepening dependency, various forms of slavery, decline, decay, numbness, deepening self-delusion, and finally, death.

Now, the core impulses of the majority, which used to be love, compassion, creative work of various kinds, from parenting to carpentry to art, to some other form of meaningful work, along with solidarity and mutual aid; have instead become comfort, the illusions of security, conformity, obedience, herd instinct, and sticking with the herd at all costs – even, and above all, in terms of shared beliefs, which generally means shared delusions.

Mass addiction to entertainment, and infotainment, mass compulsive distraction, mass avoidance of reality, and mass escape from reality, have become the true epidemics – and the most dangerous epidemics of all.

*

While the elite devour the poor, the middle class, and the Earth, at ever-increasing speeds, the mass of people live in denial of reality, escapism, and avoidance of the problems we face. This, by far, is the greatest of dangers. Nothing comes even close – not SARS, not Ebola, not swine flue, not bird flu, not H1-N1, not COVID-19, all of which are minuscule in death toll compared to the mass deaths from fast food, junk food, obesity, poor diets, poverty, hunger, war, traffic accidents, or even bathtub drownings.

If we care about human health, or human well-being, then we should start by facing reality. And the greatest dangers facing humanity, in the early 21st century, are these:

1. War, and the very real and growing threat of nuclear war

2. Ecological cataclysm, due, among other reasons, to our continued addiction to fossil fuels

3. Economic collapse, due to the games-playing of elites who have wildly destabilized the economy

4. Fascism – which, by the looks of things, is here, now.

What will allow these dangers to persist, and to go unmet, unresolved, or to bear bitter fruit, and horrible human suffering? Only denial and aversion to reality on the part of the people can allow the worst to come to fruition. When we face reality together, we can solve virtually any problem. But not until we face the problems squarely, and deal with them honestly and soberly.

The most dangerous epidemic of all, therefore, is the pandemic of denial.

Safety can never come through a denial and escape from reality, nor from lies, from illusions, or from self-deceit or self-delusion. That much is certain. When we have the courage to face the truth, then a greater well-being, health, safety, and aliveness and quality of life, can become possible. Not before.

While the global awakening of humanity is real, and is accelerating, it is also true that it is a minority of humanity, albeit a rapidly growing minority, which is waking up; while the majority remain stubbornly fixed upon denial and avoidance of reality, and ever more desperate efforts to chronically and permanently escape from reality.

The result of a chronic habit of escape from reality, is, of course, a narcissistic regression to an infantile state. This, tragically, and very dangerously, is the current trajectory of the majority. And nothing compares to the danger of this – not the coronavirus, not even the power games of the elite.

Only the wilful avoidance of reality can truly sink or destroy humanity. But the majority of the people seem intent on making that happen. If this does not change, and very, very soon, then dark times most definitely lie ahead.

The Western elite have repeatedly used crises to their advantage – regardless of whether they were natural or manufactured, exaggerated, fictitious or real – from 9/11, and the “war on terror” which instantly became a war on democracy, and a smokescreen for the global war to control oil and other resources, to the economic crisis of 2007-2010, and the trillions of dollars stolen by the elite from the people in the form of bailouts, “stimulus” packages and QE, as well as before and after these major turning point events. In the process of exploiting crises to their advantage, the elite have been destroying the economy, the middle class, democracy, constitutional rule, civil liberties, human rights, and freedom, as well as the planet, in their wake.

We must resist and refuse their claims as being our heroes and saviours. They are not. The elite have become what Hilary Clinton called, “super-predators”. We are being played. This is point number one to realize. Until the people realize this. We are in a truly dire state, and in far greater danger than any terrorist group, rogue state, hackers, petty thugs, or virus can ever pose.

I’ve always been far more interested in two things above all: helping people and other living beings on Earth, and working for social change; and the pursuit of the truth, as the primary tool in seeking to help others, and in working for positive change; much more than in any concern for what other people may think, or how they may react. As Thoreau said, above all, give me truth. Not everyone agrees with that sentiment, however; and mass distraction, and escape from reality, have become the norm.

Human beings are innately intelligent, as well as empathetic, and highly cooperative, as science has confirmed. (See Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization, Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, along with Rianne Eisler’s The Chalice And The Blade, and Murray Bookchin’s, The Ecology Of Freedom.) But we are also highly social in darker ways – seeking the comfort of group-affiliation, with conformity and obedience to authority, and the acceptance of commonly held “herd illusions”, as the dark results. Whether the former set of qualities comes to the fore, or the latter predominates, will determine the course of the next few years, and decades, as well as the fate of the Earth; and whether we live in a police state, in a new dark age, determined to destroy ourselves along with the Earth, or in a free and green society – and moreover, whether we continue to live at all.

JTR,
March 19, 2020

Post-Script:

Someone with a brain, a heart, and courage (remember the Wizard of Oz: these are good values!): Canadian philosopher John McMurtry, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism – which I have been meaning to read, and must read right away.

Here is a very short list of people worth listening to most thoughtfully, or reading – when almost everyone seems to have lost their minds, their capacity for clear or rational thought, or their ability to cut through the fog of propaganda, mass distraction and illusion, which have enveloped the world:

(a very incomplete list, of course: I am keeping it intentionally very short)

Noam Chomsky

John McMurtry

John Perkins

Naomi Klein

Gerald Celente

Joanna Macy

Vandana Shiva

Turn off “the news”. Get the facts. Read a well-chosen book. Forget the drivel, and the hysteria. Read. And question everything.

Viral Fads? Collective Escapism Through Displaced Fear?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2020 by jtoddring

 

I could be wrong, but every indicator to me so far is that the latest virus scare is vastly over-hyped, as they almost always are. Still it’s at 2,800 death toll globally, and that is in comparison to 650,000 deaths a year from the flu (actually non-influenza flu-like infections, which the flu vaccine is useless against).

So “the flu” kills 300 times as many every year as the new exotic virus has to date. That makes it sound like fear-mongering and distraction tactics on the part of the corporate-state media and governments is the pattern, not serious threat assessment, which our society has become devoid of.  

See my blog essays: Danger and Delusion: ISIS to Ebola, and Reality Check. 

Again, I may be wrong, but it seems unlikely. More importantly, people forget that it’s Germ-Host Theory, not Germ Theory. The strength of the host, which means our immune strength, is 99% of the equation, 99% of the time – not the real or imagined virulence of the germ.

Vitamins C, D, B-12, garlic, ginger, omega-3s, vegetables, fruits, sunshine, fresh air, exercise, a positive frame of mind and stress reduction, will protect us best from germs. Not panic, fear, masks, dubious vaccinations, mass quarantines, draconian measures or hand sanitizers, imo.

Remember, poverty and hunger kill *20,000 A DAY* – a death toll thousands of times higher than any new or old infection – and obesity and poor diets kill even more.

What is a vastly bigger danger than any infectious germ is the rising tide of fascism across the West, which virtually everyone seems oblivious to. Not to mention the economic and ecological catastrophes which fast approach, and the rising risk of nuclear war. 

The biggest danger, by far, is the psychopathic elite who are razing and looting the planet, and driving us toward neofeudal global fascism, and either ecological collapse and slow-motion extinction, or nuclear war.

IF this virus is “the big one”, and wipes out 30-50% of the population, as the Plague did in Europe, over 500 years ago, fear and panic won’t help. The immune boosting regimen outlined above, will. But odds are extremely against this being the once in 500 year “big one”, and worrying about it will only weaken your immune response in any case.  

Rule one: turn off the corporate-state news.

Rule two: question everything – and don’t believe the hype.

Stay calm, and carry on, I say. And let’s collectively address the big problems, not avoid them.

JTR,

February 27, 2020

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